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Conservative MP for Scarborough Centre (Ontario)

Won her last election, in 2011, with 35.60% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Royal Canadian Mounted Police November 21st, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the 2013 annual report on the RCMP's Use of the Law Enforcement Justification Provisions.

Public Safety November 19th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, as I have said, our Conservative government is committed to addressing the problem of radicalization to violence. We will continue to take action to keep Canadians safe from radical and violent terrorists. It is why we passed the Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act. It is why we passed, at second reading, the protection of Canada from terrorists act yesterday. It is why we passed the Combating Terrorism Act, which makes it an offence to travel abroad to engage in terrorist activities.

In closing, it is important to note that, although the member has brought this topic to the House tonight for debate, she has not supported a single measure that this government has put forward to combat terrorism. Perhaps this may help explain to her constituents why she has now chosen to join the NDP.

Public Safety November 19th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the member for Ahuntsic for providing me with this opportunity to highlight our Conservative government's commitment to combatting terrorism.

The government's approach to violent extremism is clearly articulated in this year's public report on the terrorist threat to Canada. I think the member actually referred to that report. In fact, our government has taken strong action to combat radicalization, with this being a key pillar of our counterterrorism strategy.

Additionally, the RCMP has developed a countering violent extremism program, which consists of working with local law enforcement partners to prevent individuals from engaging in terrorist or other criminal activities. The RCMP's countering violent extremism efforts complement our counterterrorism approaches, which are designed to disrupt individuals who have mobilized and are committed to further criminal action.

However, there are in fact many facets to countering terrorism. Our Conservative government has a strong record in this area. We have given law enforcement new tools by making it a crime to go overseas to engage in terrorist activities. We have given authorities tools to strip Canadian citizenship from those who engage in terrorist activities.

In fact, despite what we hear in the House day after day from the opposition, we have increased the funding for our national security agencies, such as the RCMP and CSIS, by one-third since forming government.

Unfortunately, we have not found opposition support for any of our past measures. Most recently in this House we introduced new measures to allow our national security agencies to better track threats to Canada.

Although the record of NDP support for any of our legislation on combatting terrorism is zero, I certainly hope that the member opposite will encourage her new-found friends in the NDP to take a tougher stand when it comes to terrorism and how we keep Canadians safe.

Protection of Canada from Terrorists Act November 18th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I would like to correct a few things I heard in that speech that are absolutely not true. With regard to there being years of cutbacks by our government, that is contrary to what has actually happened under the Conservatives. We have increased funding for our agencies by one-third since taking office. In fact, we have increased funding for the RCMP by $700 million and our Canadian Security Intelligence Service by $200 million, so that is an absolute misrepresentation of the facts here in the House.

I would also like to bring to the attention of the member that in her speech she talked about having parliamentary oversight like that of the United States, but also said that the United States intelligence agencies misled their government about weapons of mass destruction, leading to the war in Iraq. Therefore, it is quite a conundrum, looking at two sides of the same stone and trying to come up with their position on this.

The real question is whether the NDP member actually understands what terrorism is. Past quotes from the Leader of the Opposition indicate that he does not believe that the attack here in Ottawa that took the life of Corporal Nathan Cirillo and attacked our government institution here on Parliament Hill was in fact terrorism in the sense that he understands it. The RCMP understands it. The Criminal Code defines it. The U.S. Secretary of State was here and said it was terrorism. In fact, the President of France stood in the House and called it terrorism. Perhaps that is the real question here: the NDP simply does not understand it.

Protection of Canada from Terrorists Act November 18th, 2014

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, for reiterating that. I appreciate it.

One of the member's last comments in his speech was with regard to bringing the spy agency up to date. I think that is important to note, because the CSIS Act was first passed way back in 1984. In fact, I remember being in high school and using my dad's typewriter to type up my first resumé to get a part-time job. I think most Canadians would agree that it is certainly time to bring the act up to date. Obviously the threats against our country and security have changed, as have the factors that participate in or contribute to that national threat.

The bill would give CSIS the ability to operate overseas and to protect its informants. I would like to ask the member what he thinks would happen if this legislation did not pass. What would happen if all of a sudden CSIS no longer had the ability to protect its human sources or informants in the same way that other law enforcement agencies do across this country, or did not have the ability to operate overseas to track terrorists who leave this country and engage in acts of terrorism across the globe?

Protection of Canada from Terrorists Act November 18th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. member for Brandon—Souris for that speech as well as for his previous work on the public safety and national security committee.

It is interesting to note that in one of the last statements in your speech, you said, “It is time to bring the spy agency”—

Protection of Canada from Terrorists Act November 18th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, first of all, this government is doing what the previous Liberal Party, when in office, could not do. We have increased the budgets and funding for both the RCMP and CSIS. In fact, since the Conservatives came to office, we have increased funding for the RCMP by $700 million and CSIS by $200 million. This is above and beyond what the Liberals did in the last year they were in office.

When the member talked about our partners in the Five Eyes, he listed several countries. First of all, Canada is not one of the other countries. This is Canada. I wish that member, when comparing us with other countries such as our partners, New Zealand, Australia, Britain, and the United States, had considered the same argument when he stood in the House and voted against standing shoulder-to-shoulder in our fight against global terrorism.

Protection of Canada from Terrorists Act November 18th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, the minister answered that question clearly in the House earlier today. Committee business is done in committee. This is certainly not the public safety committee. That will be a decision made by members of that committee.

It is interesting to note that the NDP member opposite indicated that his party will be supporting this legislation going to committee. As in the past, that is the pattern of what the NDP does. Those members support sending bills to committee, and then when the bills come back, they vote against them.

This is a common-sense bill. It would not give CSIS any more powers than any other law enforcement agency across this country has. It would ensure that CSIS has the ability to continue to operate abroad, to track terrorists to keep Canadians safe, and to ensure that its human sources, or informants, have protection under the law, as do other law enforcement informants.

Protection of Canada from Terrorists Act November 18th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the hon. member from Don Valley West.

I am honoured to be here today to speak in support of the protection of Canada from terrorists act.

We all know that the work we are doing here is extremely important. There has been much discussion about balancing the tools the security agencies need with broader privacy concerns. I completely agree with that position. We must not overreact to horrific attacks, such as those that occurred on October 20 and October 22, but it is also time that we as Canadians stop under-reacting to the very real threat of terrorism.

The bill before us today strikes an appropriate balance. All the measures put forward in this bill are common-sense tools that would enable the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, otherwise known as CSIS, to continue keeping us safe without infringing on any of the freedoms that make this country great. To highlight this fact, I would like to discuss the three core elements of the proposal before us.

First, this bill makes minor adjustments to the CSIS Act to provide anonymity for CSIS human sources. It would confirm CSIS's mandate to investigate threats to Canada both at home and abroad and would provide anonymity to CSIS employees who may engage in covert activities.

Protecting the identity of human sources clarifies what has been an operational assumption for many years. Earlier this year the courts ruled that because this power was not legislated within the act, CSIS sources did not have that anonymity. This was a surprise to our national security agencies, and to probably many of us in the House, given that police informants have this type of protection. It is common sense that an informant for CSIS should be afforded the same protections under the law as an informant for the RCMP. This amendment would be invaluable for the brave men and women at CSIS in their work keeping all Canadians safe. We know that human sources are instrumental in CSIS's intelligence-gathering activities. Protecting their identity in court would facilitate prosecutions, future operations, and the recruitment of sources.

To illustrate the necessity of this measure, let us discuss a hypothetical example. Let us say that an individual becomes aware of a radicalized person or people within their social circle who the individual believes may be planning a terrorist attack on Canadians. Let us say that this person does the right thing and informs authorities about these individuals. Then suppose CSIS establishes a relationship with this person, who agrees to become a human source for the service to protect Canada and our citizens. Again, for the sake of this argument, let us assume that this source begins informing on not just one but on 10 suspected terrorists, if there are more players involved. Let us imagine that one of these 10 targets tells this source that he or she plans to commit an act of terror in the immediate future. In a world where CSIS can protect its source's identity, the next step in this case becomes very simple. CSIS would inform the RCMP of the imminent threat, and the RCMP would leverage the human source's information, along with other available evidence, to lay charges against the terrorist or suspected terrorist. The human source would then continue to gather evidence on the other nine individuals.

Now let us consider the decision-making process if CSIS cannot protect the identity of that human source. First, disclosing the source's identity in court would put that person at risk of retribution from the associates related to that one individual. Second, CSIS would lose the source's future value against the other nine individuals under investigation.

Our intelligence authorities cannot control the rate at which investigations proceed. It may very well be the case that the threat posed by the group of nine individuals is greater than the immediate threat posed by the lone wolf. However, if they do not have enough information to prosecute all 10, the service must make a choice: leverage a human source's information to arrest one individual who may pose an immediate threat, or wait and continue investigating a potentially larger and greater threat to Canada.

I do not think CSIS should be asked to make that choice, and I do not think Canadians across this country would expect it to. That is why I support this common-sense reform. Furthermore, I do not believe that this infringes on privacy rights or the right to a fair trial, as a judge may force the crown to disclose a source's identity if this is crucial to proving the innocence of the accused.

The other issues in this bill are, I would argue, also easy decisions. There are several proposed amendments that confirm CSIS's ability to operate abroad. This merely provides clarity in law to support CSIS's presence abroad. This is both timely and appropriate, as we know that there are individuals outside of Canada's borders who seek to do us harm here in Canada.

The terrorist threat knows no borders. We should not make our security agencies fight this threat with one hand tied behind their backs, let alone two. I am supportive of allowing CSIS to pursue warrants against Canadians abroad. This measure is particularly timely given that we know that approximately 145 Canadians have travelled abroad for terrorist purposes. CSIS should have the ability to seek warrants against these individuals and to monitor them, regardless of where their location might be. This is an important operational tool that we can provide to CSIS without hindering an individual's privacy, as CSIS will still require a warrant from a judge to use intrusive investigative techniques. I just want to reinforce that: CSIS would need a warrant from a judge.

Finally, this bill would provide anonymity to all CSIS employees who may become engaged in covert activities. Currently only CSIS employees who are engaged in covert activities are afforded anonymity before the courts. CSIS analysts and trainees are not protected and could have their identities disclosed in open court. One can imagine that this would jeopardize its employees' utility in future operations.

Providing anonymity to employees of an intelligence agency makes all the sense in the world. I do not believe for a single minute that this measure would impact the privacy rights of Canadians.

All the measures proposed in this legislation would enhance CSIS's ability to do its job effectively and efficiently. These are key to enabling CSIS to protect Canadians from those who seek to do us harm, whether it is here in Canada or abroad.

I am proud that our Conservative government has brought forward common-sense reforms while respecting the rights and freedoms that make this country so great. I encourage all members of the House to support this common-sense legislation.

Protection of Canada from Terrorists Act November 18th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. member for that speech.

I want to speak just a moment about the CSIS Act. It was first passed into legislation back in 1984, which was 30 years ago. The things CSIS has been doing, obviously, operating overseas, tracking terrorism, protecting its human sources, are all things that have recently been called into question by court decisions.

The purpose of the legislation before us is to bring further clarity to the act to ensure that CSIS could continue operating as it has always done. I wonder why the member assumes that is not the case.

The legislation is very clear and to the point. It hits a number of issues regarding protecting human sources and the ability of CSIS to operate overseas. I wonder why the member thinks CSIS should not be able to continue operating as it always has been.